Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

Sevenoaks Community Charity Partnerships 2021

As the new year brings new hope to many, Sevenoaks Community are proud to champion the incredible work of three charities that have brought hope to numerous individuals since they began. Over the course of 2021 we will be sharing the remarkable efforts of these charities with you, giving an insight into the uplifting work that is carried out by the hidden heroes of Sevenoaks. These charities will include Breast Cancer Now, Sevenoaks Larder, and Friends for Families.

The first charity to introduce is Friends for Families. Set up in 2018 by local residents Shona Campbell and Debbie Griffin, this charity aims to help local families struggling with financial hardship. The charity covers Sevenoaks District and Dartford, providing practical support directly to families that need it the most. 

It was the simple donations of christmas gifts to underprivileged children that sparked the idea to set up a permanent program to donate essential necessities to struggling families.  It soon became apparent that a touch of kindness at christmas was not enough to satisfy the needs of the many pockets of deprivation that exist in the Sevenoaks area. This gave way to Friends for Families.  Run entirely by a small group of local volunteers, the charity is dedicated to providing basic requirements to those in need.  

Shona Campbell, Co-Founder of Friends for Families

With over 5000 children living in poverty in the Sevenoaks district, financial distress is very much a pressing issue, and one often sadly overlooked. It is this hidden poverty however that prompted Friends for Families to join forces with social workers. With the benefit of professional judgement, the charity is now able to reach an even wider sector of families.  From generous donations to buy necessities such as essential furniture and appliances like washing machines, means that some of the burdens of daily hardship can be lifted.  However, as this charity understands, the main route out of deprivation begins with education.  By donating shoes and a uniform means children are able to attend school, whilst food donations fuel their ability to learn and reach their future potential.  It is these small things that make a fundamental difference in transforming lives.  Giving dignity and hope to families whilst offering them a chance to thrive is key to the success of this inspiring charity.  

Meeting basic needs of families has become even more imperative due to the current pandemic.  Covid has highlighted the poverty present in local communities like never before.  From the lack of equipment like lap tops for children’s online learning, to the limited supplies of food for parents to put a meal on the table.  It is the humble work of Friends for Families however that has provided a blanket of support to the many families struggling to stay afloat; whilst pulling together the Sevenoaks community at a time where a sense camaraderie is a comfort for all.

In these bewildering and uncertain times, donations from the good will of the Sevenoaks people are key to the continuation of Friends for Families tremendous efforts.  With new stringent measures in place to prevent transmission of the virus, donations from supporters means Shona and her team can shop online and deliver essential food supplies to the doorsteps of many households. With no premises to store supplies, individuals can be confident that their donations will be spent directly on those struggling the most.

Like the hope of a brighter future for the many families that this admirable charity supports, hope of normality resuming in all our lives after the pandemic means Friends for Families can continue to grow.  In order to do so, the charity hopes to spread an awareness across the Sevenoaks community through the efforts of volunteers at fun filled charity events, and through ambassadors for schools. 

Shona will be joining The Manak Podcast next week to discuss further this charity’s future plans, and share with you the humble yet life changing actions that has uplifted numerous families before and during the pandemic. 

If you would like to contribute to the inspiring efforts of Friends for Families then please get in touch with Shona or Debbie – two of the true hidden heroes amongst the Sevenoaks community.  

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